Priscilla Ediare, Ado-Ekiti
The Ekiti State Government has assured victims of flooding in Ilawe- Ekiti in Ekiti Southwest Local Government of assistance to mitigate the loss incurred in the disaster.
The Deputy Governor, Otunba Bisi Egbeyemi, gave the assurance during an on-the-spot visit to the town to assess the level of damage done by the flood caused by continuous downpour.
Property worth millions of naira including residential buildings, business centres, places of worship, farms, vehicles and goods were destroyed by flood.
According to a statement by his Special Assistant (Media), Odunayo Ogunmola, the Deputy Governor directed the State Emergency Management Agency (SEMA) to commence immediate documentation of victims with a view to assisting them cushion the effect of the loss.
Describing the damage done by the downpour and the accompanying flood as very sad and disheartening, Egbeyemi who was joined during the visit to the affected neighbourhoods by the Alawe of Ilawe Ekiti, Oba Adebanji Alabi, sympathized with the victims and promised of prompt government’s help through SEMA.
The Deputy Governor directed the Chairman of Ekiti Southwest Local Government, Mr. Amire Kolade, to assess other parts of the town affected and report back to his office for further action.
Egbeyemi appealed to residents of the state to be more prepared on the weather forecast of the Nigeria Meteorological Agency (NIMET) of flood disasters in most States this year.
The Deputy Governor said: “We sympathise with you for what has happened, we pray that we will not experience it again but we are going to assist you after we might have assessed the damage.
“The details of affected persons will be taken for necessary action, those who owned houses and other property to see how we can give you succour. Cooperate with our (SEMA) officials on ground to carry out the task.”
Egbeyemi who promised that government would do everything possible to avert such occurrence in the nearest future disclosed that measures had been put in by the Kayode Fayemi administration to assist the victims.
Many of the affected residents who narrated their ordeal to the Deputy Governor described the flood as unprecedented calling on the state government to save their lives and businesses with support in cash and kind to put the pieces of their lives together.
Some of the neighbourhoods affected include Oke Ibedo, Iro, Ijuku, Araromi, Adin, Oke Emo, Afuremu, Irorin, Okepa and Aaye. The fence of the Alawe’s palace was also pulled down by the rampaging flood.
The Alawe, Oba Alabi, who described the disaster as the first in the history of the town as thousands of people were affected sought the intervention of both the local and state government for the flood victims.
Oba Alabi said: “This has not happened in this town before and we pray it doesn’t happen again. We express our appreciation to the state government for their prompt response, we thank out Deputy Governor for this visit.”
The monarch who is also the Chairman, Council of Traditional Rulers in Ekiti State, blamed the flood incidence on lack of drainage and good layout in some streets.
Oba Alabi urged government to assist Landlords and Residents of his town who were now left with nothing due to the damage done by the flood.
A community leader, Sir Lawrence Egunjobi, who expressed shock at the level of damage done by the flood, called on government to, as a matter of urgency, come to the aid of those rendered homeless by the flood.
Another community leader, Chief Sesan Ojo, said several houses had been washed away by the flood and urged government to assist in addressing some the factors responsible for incessant flooding in the state.
Other victims who counted their losses in the flood bemoaned their fate as they had been rendered homeless and lost property they had struggled to acquire over the years.
According to NIMET forecast, Ekiti is among the 28 states of the federation to be affected by heavy rains and massive flooding between September and October 2020 which prompted the state government to embark on sensitization programmes for residents on safety measures to prevent flooding.